REGULAR PROGRAMME: It is a 14-month (12 month plus two-month internship) intensive programme designed for those who are interested in pursuing journalism as a career. The programme is based on the belief that a good student needs proper mentoring to become a good journalist. The programme involves a complete commitment to learning and practising the calling of journalism for 14 months. To understand some of the issues that plague our country, students will also visit a conflict zone as a part of this Mumbai-based programme. Mumbai as the financial, entertainment and cricket capital is a felicitous setting for such a programme.
DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMME: It is a 14-month programme where students will meet four times during the course of the programme, and the rest of the time they will be interacting and participating over the Internet. The reading and course component will be the same as the regular programme, but the interactions will be held over the Internet, and all the submissions and work will be completed online. The four interactions will be for a week and will be held in different parts of the country to give students an opportunity to travel and learn in diverse settings, which will be carefully chosen for the learning that the location offers.
PROGRAMME PHILOSOPHY: Both the programmes will exemplify Terence’s dictum humani nihil a me alienum puto, which means there is nothing human that is alien to me, because we believe that for a journalist nothing human can ever be alien. A good journalist is a good generalist. So what is called for is not knowing less, but knowing more and the ability to see the interconnection between different incidents, events and ideas. Journalism Mentor is designed for that.
COURSE PEDAGOGY: Journalism Mentor is about learning, research and practical training. It will require students to read, write and think. The method of teaching will be discussion-based and students will be expected to complete the assigned reading before they come to class or participate in the online discussions. Students will be expected to write response papers to the readings.
CAVEAT: Journalism Mentor is not meant for the casual student who looks upon journalism as a career for those without option or for journalism to be a means to stardom, fame or access to power and pelf. It is meant for those who believe that journalism is necessary for democracy and its proper practice ranks alongside other forms of public service that strengthen and deepen democracy.
Why a Mentorship Programme: Firstly, the idea behind the mentorship programme comes from a belief that a dedicated student, on completion of the Bachelor’s degree, is capable of becoming a good journalist provided there is adequate and proper mentoring. Unfortunately because of the pressures of daily journalism, the mentoring process, which was in place with seniors educating their juniors, is not available today.
Secondly, the mentoring programme comes from a belief, backed by more than adequate research in the field of education, that a good teacher is more important for learning than infrastructure. It is commonplace to showcase the number of computers, acres of land, buildings, and even classrooms equipped with the latest projection devices. But the quality of those teaching is never discussed. As Bill Gates, who has funded education initiatives through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, mentioned in his inaugural 2009 Annual Letter: “It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one. Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”
Thirdly, the mentoring programme comes from a belief that journalism is a craft that is best learned when there is the continuous give and take that the mentoring process provides. The Socratic method of questions and more questions and the discipline of conversation as a practice based on wide reading provide the right foundation for becoming a journalist.
Fourthly, the mentoring programme is based on a rigorous seminar method of teaching and discussing ideas followed by a regular practice of writing.
JM Foundation for Excellence in Journalism, the administering body of this programme, is an affiliate member of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication.
JM Foundation for Excellence in Journalism is an Institutional Member of International Communication Association, the premier global association of communication researchers.
Journalism Mentor is not a degree granting institution and is neither affiliated with any university nor accredited by any institution. On successful completion of the course, students will be awarded Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.
Please do note that there is no statutory requirement for institutions giving post-graduate education in journalism to be accredited. Many leading institutions in India are also not accredited, but they do not always mention that on their website or brochure.